We wrote about the business model of Knowledge Unlatched a while ago, an initiative that seeks to link libraries with publishers in order to ‘unlatch’ scholarly monographs, i.e. to publish them as Open Access titles in a financially sustainable way.
Now Knowledge Unlatched has released its pilot collection: 28 monographs across the humanities and social sciences from publishers such as Bloomsbury and de Gruyter will soon be published an Open Access mode using a Creative Commons licence.
Here is a snippet of the press release:
The KU Pilot Collection is the first step in creating a sustainable route to Open Access for Humanities and Social Sciences books. Support from a minimum of 200 libraries willing to participate in the KU Pilot was required in order to achieve this goal.This target was exceeded by almost half, with close to 300 libraries from 24 countries joining KU in support of its shared cost approach to Open Access for specialist scholarly books.
Knowledge Unlatched is a truly global initiative, involving 137 participating libraries from North America, 77 from the UK, 27 from Australia & New Zealand and 55 from the rest of the world all working together to make the Pilot Collection Open Access.
Because the target number of 200 participating libraries was exceeded, the amount that each library is paying per title was reduced from the target average price of $60.00 to under $43.00.
The recently published Final Report of the Dutch OAPEN-NL project gives first answers to a still open question.
In October 2010, OAPEN Foundation, NWO and SURF started the pilot “OAPEN-NL: A project exploring Open Access monograph publishing in the Netherlands” which combines qualitative and quantitative methods to provide information about the perceptions and expectations of authors and publishers, the costs of monographs, and the effects of Open Access (OA) on sales and scholarly impact.
To obtain valid and comparable data, 50 monographs in various subject areas were published in OA by nine participating publishers between June 2011 and November 2012. The publications were funded with up to € 5,000 each. For every OA title the publishers provided a similar title that was published conventionally. OAPEN-NL pursued a hybrid approach to OA books, which means that not only OA editions, but also printed editions were published and offered for sale. The costs of the OA edition were calculated as the first copy costs of a book, based on all the costs that go into producing the digital file of the publication (cf. p. 3).
One of the most pressing problems Open Access currently still has, becomes very well apparent in my own story: there is no funding to publish a stand-alone book.
When I planned to publish my book on algorithms “The Silent Revolution”, I wanted to publish it Open Access. Of course! In my view its topic should be available as widely as possible: It is useful for students and researchers – there is an introductory overview over recent debates about algorithms; and it discusses the effect of algorithms on our societies, with a special focus on the transformation of the public sphere pushed by Google, Facebook, Twitter, et. al. In short: it concerns us all, and I would have liked it to be within easy reach.
As we all know, academic books are often locked in a high price, my book currently costs $54 or £45 as a hard cover, so I am very happy that there is a much cheaper digital version at $32.44 or £19.50. However, easily available in Open Access would be much better.
How Much Is A Book? Expect the costs of a small car
When I asked Palgrave Macmillian, my helpful editor started to research the situation. Continue Reading…
Just a few days ago, independent journalist and long-time Open Access observer Richard Poynder published a striking interview with former Vice President at De Gruyter, Alexander Grossmann, who lately took up a post as Professor of Publishing Management at the Leipzig University of Applied Sciences and founded the publishing and network start-up venture ScienceOpen.
According to Grossmann, “there is no publishing house which is either able or willing to consider the rigorous change in their business models which would be required to actively pursue an open access publishing concept” though “both publishers and funding organizations should by now have had enough time”.
The Q&A is part of Poynder’s current series The State of Open Access where he interviews relevant stakeholders in the OA arena as Peter Suber, Joseph Esposito, Stevan Harnad, and others. The blog Open & Shut? contains much of Poynder’s writings on OA and other open initiatives.
The dispute amongst scholars and policy makers about which road to take to Open Access (gold or green) revolves to a great extend around the problem (or danger) of double dipping. It is widely acknowledged that publishers ought not to be allowed to charge twice for scientific publications, that is scholars and their public funders on the one hand and publicly funded libraries and readers on the other hand. On first glance this claim seems to be quite obvious as well as its solution appears to be trivial: when published open access a text has to be put online free of charge. Yet, that’s only part of the story.